Monday, May 17, 2010

Sweden, You Taunt Me So

Sweden has given the world IKEA and Astrid Lindgren and Meatballs.  All things that are somehow so elemental, so simple and smart you can't help but slap yourself on the head and say, "Now why didn't I think of that?!?"

Yes, Sweden is, to my mind anyway, the gateway to the collective unconscious.

It's also an absolutely absurd language which seems to at once make sense to the native-English speaker and also make total nonsense.

Exhibit A:

From the Swedish Website Barnvanligt  (If you want to see the English website, click on the British flag at the top left of the page).

Simple.  Iconic.  Functional.  Swedish.  They call it a Nyckering.  Well of course they do!  Not sure what the heck it really means (probably key ring holder, I suspect) but Nyckering really satisfies, doesn't it?

Just like all the names of products at IKEA: Malm and Halsa and Barnslig Randig.  All those umlauts dancing atop vowels like the bouncing ball in a child's sing-along video.

I guess it also doesn't hurt that Swedish maintains more than a passing resemblance to Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky.  To wit:

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
  Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
  And the mome raths outgrabe.

Okay, perhaps I should have rather said, "Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky maintains more than a passing resemblance to Swedish".  Still, there's truth to it.  

So yes, Sweden.  You are home to my linguistic and design unconscious.  And I deign to say, your meatballs are irresistible.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

What I do when I'm trying to avoid meaning

Trim cuticles
Put too many books on my library queue that I will never have time (or energy for that matter) to read
Come up with Byzantine plans for:

  • The next social gathering that I am going to host because I love being around people but hate hosting but will host anyway
  • An art project that will go awry, perhaps in the planning stages, but after having purchased all supplies
  • The yard, including an orchard, a pagoda, 1000-lb. boulders and no weeding
  • Controlling the unstoppable decay of my house, car, and everything I touch
  • How I can best torture myself about some social commitment that I really don't want to fulfill but can't say no to.  Because I can't say no to it, OK?
Oooooh!  Recipes from the New York Times!  I'd LOVE to try and use pomegranite molasses again. OK, that makes me disgusted.  There's avoiding meaning and there's gossip-porn.  Let's not go THERE.
Baby Gap.  Because your baby looks cuter in clothes that have been assembled by her contemporaries.
Doesn't it seem like it's been an awful long time since something was recalled?  I should check and see if the crib/medicines/toys/clothes/food has been recalled.  It HAS!  Oh crap.  I'm a bad mom.  I shouldn't waste time on meaningless things and I should hug my children more.  Really, what's more important than a hug?

Cereal.  In front of the computer.